Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chelsea 3 Steaua Bucharest 1 (agg 3-2): Torres to the rescue as Blues survive scare to progress into last eight

Fernando Torres fired Chelsea into the quarter-finals of the Europa League but also missed a penalty as last season's Champions League winners overcame Steaua Bucharest in the last-16 clash at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea had to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit to progress and levelled the tie through Juan Mata after 33 minutes, only for Vlad Chiriches to score on the stroke of half-time when the Blues failed to clear a corner.
The away goal meant Chelsea needed to score twice to be included in tomorrow's last-eight draw and captain John Terry headed in after 58 minutes and Torres netted after 71 minutes to seal victory - before the Spaniard hit the bar with an 87th-minute penalty.
Road to redemption: Torres celebrates putting Chelsea 3-1 ahead on the night

Torres' strike was the £50million striker's second goal in 19 games - the effort at Middlesbrough which ricocheted in off his back was belatedly credited to Ramires - and his reward was a nosebleed sustained soon afterwards.
It was a crucial strike from the much-maligned Spaniard and means Chelsea, who play West Ham in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday, now face four games in nine days, beginning against Southampton on Easter Saturday.
Boss Rafael Benitez made four changes for Chelsea's 52nd match of a season which could feature 70 games - if the Blues advance to the finals of the Europa League and the FA Cup.
Terry, Torres, John Obi Mikel and Eden Hazard were included following the 2-2 draw at Manchester United.
Chelsea's last home defeat in European competition was to United - two years ago in the Champions League quarter-finals - and they were hoping to carry the momentum from the second half of last Sunday's Old Trafford encounter.
It was Raul Rusescu's penalty which handed Steaua the advantage at the end of the first leg and the striker nearly doubled their overall lead after 12 minutes.

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